Sneha Girap

Zeinabu irene Davis

Years active  1982–present
Name  Zeinabu Davis

Role  Filmmaker
Movies  Compensation, Momentum
Zeinabu irene Davis communicationucsdeduimageszdavisbiojpg
Born  April 13, 1961 (age 54) (1961-04-13) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma mater  Brown University, University of California, Los Angeles
Occupation  Director, producer, professor
Spouse  Marc Arthur Chery (m. 1982)
Education  Brown University, University of California, Los Angeles
Nominations  Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award, Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Diaspora Documentary

Zeinabu irene Davis is an African-American filmmaker and professor of the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego. Her works in film include narrative, documentary and experimental film.


Personal, Education and career

Born in Philadelphia, Zeinabu irene Davis, gravitated towards arts, "theater and education" (Field et. al, 19). With a Catholic school background, Davis studied at Brown University, then later travelled to Kenya, in which her interest in African American Studies. Furthermore, she pursued her first master's degree in 1983 focusing on African studies, then later receiving a master of fine arts in film and video production both from UCLA in 1989. She has received numerous grants and fellowships from such sources as the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Film Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts. She taught at several colleges such as Antioch College and Northwestern University, however, moved to teach at UC San Diego, where she currently serves as Professor of Communications (


As a filmmaker, her films have been categorized as belonging to the genre of Black feminism due to the ways she incorporates the unique experiences of African American women. According to film scholar Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, Davis believes that black filmmakers are "developing a new genre that constitutes a black aesthetic". Furthermore, Davis was part of L.A. Rebellion, which was a movement involving independent black filmmakers (who attended UCLA) aiming to reproduce alternative, humanizing, and more accurate images of black people unlike classical Hollywood cinema. From her experience of being part of L.A Rebellion, Davis feels passionately about working within groups or organizations, especially as a beginner. She believes that the dynamic and different perspective help filmmakers grow and develop their unique styles.


Her film Compensation won the Gordon Parks Directing Award from the Independent Feature Project in New York. It was also screened at the Sundance Festival in 2002. It tells a parallel story of two deaf black women, one at the turn of the century and one in the later 20th century. She also won awards from the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and the National Black Programming Consortium for Cycles (1989), an experimental short film. In addition, her works such as, A Period Piece (1991), A Powerful Thang (1991), Mother of a River (1995) and Compensation (1999) "continued to garner her awards from numerous organizations and festivals, including the Gordan Parks Award for Best Director from the Independent Feature Project" ( In 2017, her film "Spirits of Rebellion" was awarded for Best Documentary Feature Film at the San Diego Film Awards.


Zeinabu irene Davis Wikipedia

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